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QSA HMS Sappho Royal Marine


Queen’s South Africa, no bar, Private John William Cooke, Royal Marines, who fought in at least 3 wars, at El Teb Tamaai in Egypt and at Witu during 1890.

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SKU: J8822 Category:
Origin: United Kingdom
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Queen’s South Africa, no bar, Private John William Cooke, Royal Marines Light Infantry, HMS Sappho, who fought in at least 3 wars, at El Teb Tamaai in Egypt and at Witu during 1890. 


Officially impressed: “J. W. Cooke, Pte R.M.L.I. H.M.S. Sappho”


Confirmed on the medal roll.

With copy service records


John William Cooke, saw a full 21 year career with the Royal Marines, spanning from 1880, when he signed up the same day as his 19th Birthday, being involved in various wars around the world.


During the Egyptian War of 1882-5, he went over to Egypt on HMS Alexandra, and served as a “Bluejacket” with the Naval Brigade at the Battle of El-Teb and Tamaai, for which he earned the medal and matching Khedive’s Star.


He would be again deployed on HMS Humber during 1890, where he took part in the Witu Expedition, earning the East and West Africa Medal, with bar “Witu 1890”.


Rounding out his career with the Boer War of 1899-1902, he would serve on board HMS Sappho to earn this medal from 1900-1901.


Even following his retirement in 1901, he remained active for over 10 years returning for his yearly drills with the reserves until he was fully discharged at the age of 50 in 1911.



His service paper specify that from 26th to 29th October 1890 he “Took part in Expedition to Witu”.



John William Cooke, was born on 9th December 1861 in Lambeth, London.


He was a “Hatter” by trade before signing up with the Royal Marines by “Major J. Moody” in London on 9th December 1880, the day of his 19th Birthday.


Egyptian War period of service:

Embarked Chatham Division to HMS Alexandra on 19th Jan 1883

HMS Alexandra, 20th Jan 1883 – 7th Feb 1884

HMS Euryalus Royal Marine Battalion, 8th Feb 1884 – 27th April 1884

HMS Alexandra, 28th April 1884 – 22nd March 1886, when “Paid Off, Disembarked, To Deal”.


“Witu” Period:


Joined HMS Humber on 10th September 1897 and served on board until 19th May 1892.


Boer War Period:


Embarked from the Chatham Division to HMS Pegasus on 17th January 1899 until 17th August 1900, when paid off.


Joined HMS Sappho on 18th August 1900, serving until 18th September 1901.


Having rejoined the Chatham Division on 19th September 1901, he was discharged on 10th December 1901, having just completed his 21 years of service .


General Character noted on discharge as “Very Good”.


Following that he remained for the next 10 years as a member of the Royal Fleet Reserve, attending all his drills and trainings until he turned 50 years old.


Address noted as 1 Townsend Street, Old Kent Road, London.


An additional note at the top his service records reads: “Sgt Cooke, Master Tailor, Royal Scots Fusiliers.”


He is later recorded on the 1921 Census living with his wife and Children in Lambeth, London working as a “Civil Servant” for HM Government, employed by “The Admiralty”.


He died in Lambeth during 1934.